Spring 2014

Science at Work

Grant programs support new researchers and advances in implantology

Two new grant programs are giving faculty at the School of Dental Medicine more opportunities to conduct interdisciplinary research that has immediate,
real-world applications.

A grant program funded by the dental restoration company Nobel Biocare is supporting Tufts’ efforts to advance the field of implantology. Four grants—each worth up to $20,000 per project—were awarded to Hanna Bae, assistant professor of prosthodontics and operative dentistry; Yong Hur, DG08, M.S.08, DI12, assistant professor of periodontology; Evangelos Papathanasiou, DG11, assistant professor of periodontology; and Aruna Ramesh, DI04, associate professor of diagnosis and health promotion. Two of these projects seek to develop better implant materials; another is a study of the diseases that affect bone and gum tissues around implants. The fourth will compare the accuracy of two different imaging machines used to create customized implants.

The new school-based funding source, Interdisciplinary Grants for New Investigators, is designed to encourage innovation and collaboration among faculty from all departments. Open only to those who have never been involved in funded research before, these year-long grants provided $5,000 to each of five recipients. The teams of researchers started their projects in September, with the goal of wrapping them up in August 2014.

Among them, Ruby Ghaffari, D92, assistant professor of diagnosis and health promotion, is examining the program known as the LOTUS (Linkage of Tufts University Students) Community Health Project, which brings together students from Tufts’ health sciences schools to provide services to Boston’s Chinatown community, a neighbor of the university’s Boston campus. Ghaffari’s study will assess the health needs of residents of the Castle Square apartment complex and then seek to optimize the LOTUS project’s ability to meet them.

Another faculty member, Tofool Alghanem, DG10, M.S.11, an assistant professor of public health and community service, is evaluating the usefulness of E4D Compare, an interactive program that gives 3D visual feedback to help students and faculty assess students’ work. Joanne Falzone, D80, clinical professor of prosthodontics and operative dentistry, has been analyzing student stress levels at the dental school, and Georgios Kanavakis, DG08, M.S.09, DG11 assistant professor of orthodontics, is looking at patients’ records before, during and after treatment to identify physical traits and other factors that could predict relapse in patients with open bites caused by facial skeletal discrepancies. Pamela Maragliano-Muniz, D04, an associate clinical professor of diagnosis and health promotion, is running a clinical study to assess the effects of three caries-prevention products on tooth hypersensitivity.

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